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Day April 15, 2014

Significant Digits Episode 1 Part 1

Show #1: The Future of the Internet and Everything

Part 1: The Internet is dead, long live the Internet
The data shows the Internet growth will go through an inflection point. Should we panic or celebrate?


In this inaugural episode we open with the biggest question facing the biggest technological innovation of our time: the limit to growth of the Internet. The Internet is the backbone of our post-industrial society as much as the railroad was the backbone of the industrial revolution. Even more so, the diffusion of internet consumption is the fundamental engine of growth at a time when industrial economies are all mired in syndromes of underinvestment and misallocation of resources.

And so it matters greatly if and when the Internet will “inflect” in growth, going from acceleration to deceleration. Mobile computing sustained this acceleration, bringing computing and connectivity to the billions for whom the PC would always be beyond reach. But even with the expansion of device-based usage limits are in sight.

The implications could be profound. Frothy valuations and optimism could evaporate. Venture Capital could find few exits and the “second Internet Bubble” could burst. On the other hand, maybe the data shows that opportunity is largely unmet. Quantity of users is but one proxy. How can growth and business model innovation continue?

To help us think this through I have as my guest Marko Anderson, cofounder of Random [1] and a former colleague at Nokia.

Stay tuned for four more parts:

  • Part 2: Browsing vs. Apps The HTML5 vs. Native debate and the jobs the Internet is hired to do.
  • Part 3: Monetize This The problem with business model innovation. When the ad dollars run out, what will take their place?
  • Part 4: Random How discovery is changing and the value of irrationality.
  • Part 5: Glass is half full How can we screw this up? Privacy, Surveillance and The Internet Citizen’s Bill of Rights.

Significant Digits is a talk show where we take time to recognize patterns in the lives of technologies.

  1. Run out of Internet to read? Random’s new iOS app is for you []